Seeded players righted the ship on Wednesday at Wimbledon, where only one lower seed was shown the door and the Top 10 seeds all cruised into the third round amidst an ant invasion that had players swatting at air throughout the day.
World No. 1 Andy Murray led that charge, shutting down potential upset-maker and net-rusher Dustin Brown of Germany 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
“Certainly, the first two matches have been difficult to come up with game plans, because you don’t know exactly how the two guys are going to play,” said Murray, who will next face shot-making No. 28 seed Fabio Fognini. “I think against Fabio…it’s maybe easier to come up with a game plan because there will be a bit more structure and strategy in the match rather than just, reacting and sort of more kind of instinctive points.”
Other Top 10 winners Wednesday were No. 4 Rafael Nadal who held off a late surge from American Donald Young 6-4, 6-2, 7-5, No. 7 Marin Cilic who likewise straight-setted German Florian Mayer 7-6(2), 6-4, 7-5, and No. 9 Kei Nishikori who narrowly avoided a fifth set, defeating all-courter Sergiy Stakhovsky 6-4, 6-7(7), 6-1, 7-6(6).
“I think it was a really, really good match,” said Cilic, who dropped 31 aces on Mayer over three sets. “High level from both of us. Florian obviously had some chances, serving for the first and third set. But I would say that I was returning quite good throughout the match. Even though he was up in the first set, I felt that I was playing well, returning well, just applying pressure.”
Nadal will next meet the big-hitting 21-year-old Russian Karen Khachanov in a third round, first-time meeting.
“Karen is a great player, he has chances to win a lot,” Nadal said, not seeming overly-impressed. “But then there are other good players out there.”
Lower-seeded winners on the day were No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 16 Gilles Muller who beat Lukas Rosol 9-7 in the fifth, No. 18 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 24 Sam Querrey, No. 26 Steve Johnson, No. 28 Fabio Fognini, No. 30 Karen Khachanov, and No. 32 Paolo Lorenzi.
“I almost wanted to stop because they were hitting you in the face when you were trying to hit balls,” said Querrey of the ant invasion. “All over the place. I lost a set when the ants came. If I had won that set, probably wouldn’t have bugged me as much.”
Tsonga lined up his next match with Querrey, who last year beat Djokovic on the lawns.
“Today, it was good because I won,” Tsonga said. “Sam is playing well — that’s not a new story. He’s playing well on this surface. He always has been very dangerous on this surface. So for me it’s a really serious match…I’m going to need to serve big. I’m going to probably have fewer break opportunities than I’ve had in my last two matches.”
The win by the No. 32-seeded Lorenzi broke an 11-match grasscourt losing streak.
The lone upset on the day was orchestrated by Poland’s “I’m From” Jerzy Janowicz who defeated No. 14 Lucas Pouille 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-1. Russian Daniil Medvedev, the Wawrinka-killer, also bowed out Wednesday to Belgian Ruben Bemelmans 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3.
Matches to look for on Thursday at Wimbledon are (3) Roger Federer vs. Dusan Lajovic, (2) Novak Djokovic vs. Adam Pavlasek, (8) Dominic Thiem vs. veteran Gilles Simon, (6) Milos Raonic vs. Mikhail Youzhny, (29) Juan Martin del Potro vs. the mercurial Ernests Gulbis, (10) Alexander Zverev vs. Frances Tiafoe, and (32) Paolo Lorenzi vs. big-serving American Jared Donaldson.
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